Stadium Renovations Attract Top Players and Funding

The Williams-Brice Stadium improvements and renovations attract talented players and generous alumni.

The Williams-Brice Stadium improvements and renovations attract talented players and generous alumni.

When the University of South Carolina (USC) Gamecocks football team takes the opening kickoff to the roar of a Williams-Brice Stadium crowd, a win is recorded before a single touchdown is achieved. That win goes to USC’s athletic and facilities management teams and their strategy for attracting players and alumni.

Part of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), USC has invested nearly $30 million in improvements and renovations to the Williams-Brice Stadium over the past decade. The work is part of USC’s strategy to attract talented players, build championship teams, and gain the continued financial support of fans and alumni.

In a brochure used to generate alumni funding, USC notes, “Our pursuit of championships will be mirrored with the accommodations provided for our fans while cheering along.”

Since 2009, Rockfon products have helped those accommodations take shape in dynamic stadium spaces.

Players Lounge: Dressed to Impress

When football recruits and their parents walk into the renovated Players Lounge, they see the commitment USC is making to sustain a program that battles for championships. For the players, the lounge is viewed as a reward for a job well done.

According to Todd Sease, architect and co-owner of Jumper, Carter, Sease Architects, “The University wanted the wow factor in this space.” Sease delivered it by creating a high-tech look throughout, with areas of the lounge defined by a variety of materials and finishes.

One of the dramatic spaces is the barrel vault ceiling that joins the Players Lounge concourse and locker room. Created using Rockfon Planar Linear Metal Panels with a chrome finish, the ceiling conveys a feeling of glitz that aligns with the atmosphere of college football.

Areas of the Players Lounge designed for watching the game on big screen TVs, playing pool, or chatting with recruits and families, feature a subdued design, while maintaining an atmosphere of sophistication. In these areas, Sease used Rockfon Open Plenum CubeGrid custom designed by Rockfon in a garnet color to match the USC team colors. Throughout the Players Lounge, Chicago Metallic 15/16-inch 1200 Seismic suspension system is used along with 6-inch Rockfon Infinity Perimeter trim to provide a finished look.

Donor Suites: Game Day Rewards

A championship program depends in part on the generosity of alumni donors. In return for their financial support, USC rewards donors with suites for viewing games, enjoying food and drink, and socializing. During 2009 and 2010, several suite areas were upgraded with Rockfon products chosen for both their aesthetic and performance characteristics.

Morris Nussbaum, USC director of building services, understands the environmental issues that affect the stadium environment. “All football stadiums leak,” he says. “And, in most suites, the windows open to the playing field. Materials used in these areas can be impacted by humidity and moisture. You need products that can handle that.” Architects responsible for the suite redesigns found a solution with Rockfon Planostile ceiling panels — a metal product with a wood look.

Champions Club

In 2009, Architect Todd Sease used Rockfon Planostile in the renovation of the USC Champions Club Northend, a club that accommodates 250 guests with an indoor lounge and outdoor seating areas. Rockfon Planostile was specified with a MetalWood laminated finish in Karri, a color that closely matched USC’s garnet team color. Adding to the wood effect was Rockfon Infinity Trim in a custom designed WoodScenes Burnished Cherry painted finish. “The ceiling areas look like wood, but have durability that wood can’t deliver. We’re happy with the aesthetics and the durability,” said Sease.

Several USC suite area upgrades feature Rockfon products.

Several USC suite area upgrades feature Rockfon products.

Executive Club

2010 suite renovations designed by Architect Clint Burdett of JHS Architects also feature Rockfon Planostile panels. Burdett specified Rockfon Planostile for the USC Executive Club, designed to accommodate approximately 500 fans. According to Burdett, Rockfon custom designed the Rockfon Planostile panels with a WoodScenes painted finish in the USC garnet team color. A special challenge was presented by Burdett’s design, which called for a slight curve to the ceiling. “Rockfon was helpful to us in finding a way to bend the panels so the design vision was achieved and the installation went smoothly,” Burdett says.

Private Suites

Higher-level USC donors are entertained in smaller suites offering a more intimate atmosphere for up to 24 guests. JHS Architects’ Clint Burdett designed the suites with wood accents throughout – and a Rockfon Planostile ceiling with a WoodScenes painted finish in the custom garnet color to match. The ceiling features decorative curves and a downward pitch that directs the eye toward the playing field below.

A Winning Strategy

As USC works towards their goal of multiple championship seasons, architectural design and Rockfon’s materials are part of the team. With the updated facilities USC has created a game plan built for success. Go Gamecocks!

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